Saudi King's Summer Beach Plans Outrage the French

French grumble about closing beach for king
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2015 3:57 AM CDT
A view of the public beach called La Mirandole, located below a mansion owned by the Saudi royal family in Golfe-Juan Vallauris, southern France.   (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
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(Newser) – The French got rid of their monarchy more than 200 years ago and they do not take kindly to being ordered around on behalf of the kings of other countries. Saudi Arabia's King Salman plans to spend the summer on the French Riviera—with an entourage of 500—and locals are infuriated by plans to close the public beach that runs alongside his villa at La Mirandole, a few miles from Cannes, the Telegraph reports. The beach, which is popular with swimmers, nude sunbathers, and fishermen, will be fenced off while the Saudi royals are in residence, with the exclusion zone extending far out to sea. Local authorities have already approved plans for the Saudis to build an elevator from their mansion to the beach, reports the Telegraph.

Outraged locals have started a petition, arguing that under French law, the beach should be open to everybody, and that closing it for a monarch goes against the ideals modern France was founded on. "A public beach is an inalienable public property, like the Mona Lisa, open to anyone and everyone whoever they are. This has nothing to do with security and everything to do with personal pleasure," the petition states, per the Guardian. "The impression the French state, which is supposed to support republican values, is giving of there being one law for the rich and one for the poor is extremely disturbing and an unfortunate precedent."

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